absentia and who comprise the 312 cases still capable
of being prosecuted according to German law (crimes committed out of base
motives or through carrying out Nazi dogma, such as the deportation of Jews).
The Franco-German legislative agreement signed on February 2, 1971, was
a warning shot for the criminals and their protectors in German governmental
and judicial circles. Back in 1967, the Federal Republic's foreign minister had
sent a list of 1,026 Nazis who had been sentenced in France to the German Red
Cross, which had hastened to warn each of them: "You have been sentenced in
absentia in France. If you enter French territory you will be arrested and
Ratification of that agreement, which was unpopular in the
Federal Republic, had been delayed by a pressure group within the inner circles
of the three parties represented in the Bundestag. But, sensing the threat that
hung over the heads of the condemned, the German courts adopted a bold tactic:
to discharge the case against one of the best known, Klaus Barbie, so that that
decision could be cited as a precedent by other prosecuting bodies in similar
cases. It was also a means of gauging whether the French were really serious.
I immediately realized that the Barbie case was a landmark, and that we
would have to fight relentlessly to get the Munich investigation reopened.
That night I translated Rabl's ten pages, which became the first entry
in my file. Serge and I decided to launch our campaign on three fronts: to
gather and distribute as complete a documentation as possible on the Barbie
case; to rouse public opinion in France and the Federal Republic through that
documentation and especially through the reactions I would provoke in the Lyon
area; and, finally, to attack the Munich court in whatever way might produce
the best results.
We went back to the CDJC and assembled basic data
designed to show the press and persons likely to react just who Barbie was. The
data consisted of documents signed by Barbie that concerned the Jewish problem.
Little by little, after painstaking research, we found many more papers in the
Gestapo archives to add to our documentation. We also found passages in several
books describing Barbie's role in the arrest and torture of Jean Moulin,
including Laure Moulin's book about her brother; Henri Michel's Jean